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What can I do with these vanilla beans?

by 1296 · February 16, 2012 at 11:42 PM

So I ordered 5 lbs of turmeric, but Amazon sent me 50 Madagascar vanilla beans instead. I've already contacted the distributor, and they are sending me my turmeric, but said I should just keep the vanilla beans.

Anyway, what can I do with them? I know that this is a fairly exotic, luxurious ingredient to have, but as a paleo person, I don't do very much baking.

Oh, and are there any nutritional benefits to vanilla beans?

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8 Replies

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24412 · February 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM

You'll be a hero if you donate any that you don't think you'll use to your local food bank. The older generation that still knows how to cook with them, but can't afford them at the store will think of you fondly always.

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480 · February 16, 2012 7:15 PM

Wow you are lucky. I would not use them all for extract. Make a vanilla mead, vanilla honey ice cream, blend some in smoothies etc...

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4236 · February 16, 2012 5:38 PM

My family has a recipe for making vanilla extract. Slice the beans open longways and scrape out the innards. Place the innards and sliced beans in a large bottle of vodka (purer the better) and let it sit for 6 months, shaking once a day. The vodka will get progressively darker, and smells delicious. You have enough vanilla extract to last you a year, perhaps more. As long as you're willing to wait the time, it is worth it! So tasty. Good in homemade dessert like dark chocolate bars with coconut, or even a few drops in curries or stews. I'm not positive, but vanilla I think has some good minerals and amino acids.

the extract is also good as a natural perfume or essential oil, if you like the smell of vanilla.

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900 · February 16, 2012 7:01 PM

One traditional way to use them is to slice them open lenthwise and put 2-3 in a large sugar jar so the sugar will pick up the aroma after around 4 weeks. You can now vary this with anything more paleo friendly or maybe you still use sugar in your coffee (like me) and now you have vanilla sugar. I also make my own chai with black tea and spices to taste (all whole spices from mountainroseherbs) and a small piece of vanilla. You can use them for anything that could use some vanilla aroma. Since I'm sober for 9 years now I don't use any extracts.

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3500 · February 16, 2012 at 11:42 PM

50 beans really is a lot. Most recipes you would make for 4-8 people only need one each. My favorite use for vanilla beans is panna cotta, if you're OK with heavy cream and some sweetness (you could use stevia for it). The recipe is here but you can use a more paleo-friendly sweetener (or amount of sweetener) for it.

There's also making your own extract, as stated elsewhere in this thread; vanilla infused vodka; ice cream; a few savory dishes like risotto; and your creativity. This is a good time to experiment!

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298 · February 16, 2012 7:04 PM

You lucky son of a Neanderthal, I'm so jealous!That could be $300 worth of vanilla beans for free! I'd scape the seeds into some coconut cream for my sweetener free fudge, or add the seeds to a smoothie - definitely soak the remaining pods in the vodka. With so many, I'd pack the majority into my food saver, suck the air out and freeze all but a few at a time.

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426 · February 16, 2012 9:04 PM

Mix into some coconut milk, a little salt, and egg yolks and bake it into a custardy thing. Or sometimes I just microwave it, but that only works if you like me enjoy an odd scrambled-egg texture.

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1614 · February 16, 2012 5:57 PM

Send them to me! ;)

I second the vanilla extract idea if you use it. I also love vanilla bean coconut "ice cream." You could always scrape a pod into a batch of nut butter or yogurt (if you eat those). Any sort of butter-based paleo cookie or bar would benefit from a vanilla bean scraped in, probably. They keep for quite a long time if you store them correctly, so no hurry to try to use them up. If none of this is appealing to you, sell them on ebay!

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